Drugstore chain on track to have the most solar power installations among retailers nationwide.
Since its first solar installation in 2007, Walgreens has expanded its plans to include stores and distribution centers in Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Oregon and Ohio, for a total of more than 130 installations nationwide by the end of the year, more than any other U.S. retailer. Typically, rooftop solar systems help offset energy usage by an estimated 15-20%.
“This is an important milestone for us as we continue to explore ways to expand our use of environmentally-friendly technology to reduce our energy consumption,” said Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of community management and operations. “Our use of solar power across Ohio is a great example of how businesses, state officials and developers of green technologies can work together to help make a difference in our communities and for the planet.”
In Ohio alone, the company has 53 installations in 20 counties, making this the largest rollout of solar in one state for one entity. Walgreens is working with SoCore Energy, which will own, maintain and monitor the rooftop systems. SoCore and Walgreens have teamed up with First Energy Solutions to manage the Renewable Energy Certificate process.
Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, joined officials from SoCore Energy, state and local officials and Walgreens for a community celebration marking its 100th solar installation today, Sept. 23, at the Mason Walgreens located at 8060 S. Mason Montgomery Road. The event featured a dedication ceremony, samples of eco-friendly products and a green bag giveaway.
“Solar energy solutions cut costs and promote emerging clean energy jobs and markets in communities across America,” said Sutley. “It is leadership from private sector companies like Walgreens and the commitment of this Administration to building a cleaner, greener economy that will help to ensure America is second to none.”
“Walgreens’ impressive sustainability efforts include this substantial commitment to solar power and on-site renewable energy,” said Pete Kadens, SoCore Energy president. “These projects are not only producing solar power, they are also generating solar renewable energy credits and reducing energy costs for Walgreens, which in turn saves money for its customers while benefitting the broader community.”
The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority in May provided a $5.2 million loan to SoCore for development of the 53 rooftop solar systems across the state, including five in northwest Ohio. The remainder of the project’s $9.9 million cost is being funded by SoCore and a federal solar tax credit.
Walgreens has a long-standing commitment to reducing energy usage and expanding its renewable energy initiatives. The company became the nation’s first drugstore chain to install a geothermal energy system at one of its stores in Oak Park, Ill., last November. The company’s Mira Mesa, Calif., location became the first drugstore to receive LEED gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition, the company utilizes an energy management system that monitors electricity, water, heating and cooling and waste management at more than 1,100 stores to help reduce energy usage and maintenance costs while extending equipment life.